Sara Quin, mum-of-2 from Otley, started muck:up! in January 2010. She had been exasperated with the dog muck situation for a couple of years but after a particularly trying school trip with her 4 year old’s Reception class, she decided to do something about it.
The school trip should have been a pleasant and relatively easy experience, but every few metres we had to dodge piles of dog muck; over just 0.5 miles there were well over 20 piles of dog muck, all along the route to school. With a walking train of 28 four and five year olds this was extremely tricky feat.
Muck:up! was born
So, Sara decided to launch muck:up! Her ideology basically being “Don’t muck up Otley, clear your dog muck up!”. She was concerned at the amount of dog fouling in the streets (particularly the routes to school), in our parks and on the Chevin.
The campaign goal is to encourage all dog owners to clean their dog muck up, every time. Many dog owners do clean up, but there is a minority who do not.
Support for the campaign
Support for the campaign is growing all the time, Sara is getting emails from all over Wharfedale; so she is thinking of changing her strap-line to “don’t muck up Wharfedale” and extend the campaign’s base. Just because they have started with Otley please don’t let this geographical barrier stop you from supporting them!
Sara has spoken to a wide range of organisations, clubs and businesses and has found a huge amount of support. Official supporters so far include… (obviously) MoorMums, Greg Mulholland MP, The Wharfedale Observer, Otley Clinic Health Visitors Team, Otley Police, Leeds City Council Dog Warden Department, Leeds City Council Parks & Countryside Department, Chevin Estate Office, Otley RUFC, Otley Junior Athletics Club, Otley Town Partnership, Otley All Saints C of E Primary, Farnley Primary School, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Cllr Ryk Downes, Pool in Wharfedale e-News, Just Books and Wharfedale & Airedale Multiples Group.
Council Dog Wardens
The Leeds City Council Dog Warden Team really have their work cut out as there are 4 dog wardens for the entire city. Hence the chances of them actually catching someone dog fouling is pretty rare. They need the support of the public. If you see anyone not picking up after their dog then get a brief description of the dog / dog owner (a car registration is ideal if they are near their car) and note down the time and location. Then notify the authorities, they will then be able to time their visits to hopefully catch the culprits. Obviously, in Wharfedale you may fall under Leeds City Council or Bradford Metropolitan District Council. If you need to contact Bradford you can do this online and you can contact Leeds City Council on 0113 222 4444.
For more information, visit the campaign website, Facebook group “muck:up!” or the online petition.
If you have any comments or suggestions or if you would like to sign up to support the ethos of muck:up! then please don’t hesitate to email Sara at email@example.com
Testimonials from campaign supporters
“Thanks to the organiser for starting this campaign. There have been several over many years but this one seems serious (at last!). As an owner of two big dogs it is always of interest to me what other owners are doing. There are certainly two ‘camps’ between those who have got the message and those who have not. Every variety of action seems to exist eg well behaved during the day but not picking up under the cover of darkness! picking up but them droping the bag several yards later! (what are they thinking?). Still I agree we have to try to be positive in educating the owners. Unfortunately previous trys have failed on this point of gentle persuasion. A properly instigated fine is probably the only way of tackling the problem. Word would soon get around if we had a couple of dozen culprits fined and name published in the paper like TV licence dodgers. What a hugh difference it would mean to my estate if my grand children and the local kids could play in the local field with out the mess.”
“Really pleased to see someone trying to do something about this. Double buggys, walking sticks, husband that can’t see it and slips over in it and wheelchairs – it drives me absolutely crazy.”
“I think the campaign is a fantastic idea, but it is a great shame that Leeds city council do not do more to combat the problem. We have had dogs walked even on our front lawn and fowling, but despite repeated pleas to LCC we were told the lawn and communal land was classed as private so they could take no action !! Sadly placing stickers on lamposts seems to be the limit of their policing of this rude and disgusting behaviour by a minority of dog owners. Surely we should be protecting our children from this especially considering it can cause blindness and even death, yet placing doggy bins on a children’s football pitch seems to frequently the case. I am a dog lover myself, but there are some serious responsibilities that come with owning a dog.”
“Well Done Sara ! I was wondering who to contact after taking my two young grandchildren into Wharfe meadows to feed the ducks and play on the swings. I was horrified to see dog mess actually under the swings in the playground as well as on the paths. I noticed most owners of small dogs had them on a lead but many dogs (often large dogs) were allowed to run free despite all efforts by the council to prevent this. Perhaps the community support officers could add this enforcement to their duties on patrol. It is much harder to ignore your dog on a lead stopping to defecate !
I was ready to speak to an offender there and then but my husband stopped me in case of retaliation as we are both in our 70s. Thank you for trying to address the problem and best of luck in your endeavours !”